Monday, May 5, 2008

Summer Reading---Langston Hughes

I'm not really doing law school stuff right now. But I am still reading a lot. If you'll pardon me, I'm just going to post the best stuff I'm coming across.

I picked up Don't Turn Back yesterday because I wanted something pleasant to read in the bath tub. I bought this book for $12 in Logan, UT. I love it.

Poems by Langston Hughes selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, with incredible woodcuts by Ann Grifalconi. My copy was in the Rose Park Library for decades, so it smells like every book ever. Looking through this it is very tactile. Again, I love it.

You can borrow it, if you want. But you have to sign out for it. And you have to love it.

Don't be afraid to read these out loud (rol) when no one is around your cubicle...

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
__flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
__went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
__bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

This isn't one of my favorites from the book, but I had to pick another poem with a woodcut so you could see how great they are...

Troubled Woman

She stand
In the quiet darkness,
This troubled woman
Bowed by
Weariness and pain
Like an
Autumn flower
In the frozen rain,
Like a
Wind-blown autumn flower
That never lifts its head


I loved my friend.
He went away from me.
There is nothing more to say.
The poem ends,
Soft as it began--
I loved my friend.

Mother to Son

Well, son, I'll tell you :
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor---
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it kinder hard.
Don't you fall now---
for I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.


B. said...

Great stuff. I need to get me one of them books.

mimi said...

favorite post. love the poems and love the woodcuts, and love that you love them and posted them.

Rip Colbert said...

Thanks. That book has reached friend status.